From Delhi to Wagga Wagga
From Delhi to Wagga Wagga (Regional NSW)
Walt Disney has rightly said – All our dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them.
Being a Pharmacist and a MBA degree in my kitty, I was always interested to do something beyond my books. I was actively involved in my University back in my homeland, India. Then I got married and proudly became a Mom but I never stopped dreaming, a dream which was close to my heart, the dream of getting engaged with the community and work for the welfare of the people.
Suddenly, got a news that we are leaving for Australia for Higher education. My husband was very excited, my infant was too young to react and I was still in the dilemma state. Will I be able to adjust quickly to the new environment .
My journey on a new adventure began. I was really waiting for that Reality shock but here the scenario was entirely different. Instead of gazes, I was welcomed by smiles. The people were really cool yet professional in their attitude.
My Visa-process & immigration was very smooth (I really didn’t expect it to be so smooth & quick as I was travelling with my one and half year old gal).My neighbors, people in the departmental stores were the ones whom I interacted first before coming to Charles Sturt University.
Now I was ready to go to my university. I missed the actual Orientation but I knew I would cope up. I am still thankful to Student support officers Mr. Chris Roche and Mrs Jacqueline Blomfield who really helped me in my initial days.
Now it’s the turn to meet your supervisory team. A bit shaken, I was just pondering whether I will be having a good coordination with them or will it be a bit difficult to manage my personnel and professional life here in CSU. My Supervisory team came as a blessing in disguise. I was on Cloud nine. Never expected such a warm-hearted welcome for an International student. This happens only in Australia. I still can’t thank enough My Primary Supervisor Prof. Patrick Ball & my Co-supervisor Mr. George John.
Presently I am a PhD student (Biomedical Sciences) in Charles Sturt University. Being so comfortable at Wagga; I started working on my dreams. I always believed in myself; though I did face a bit of criticism being a lady as well as a non native English Speaker but those criticism never blocked my way. In fact they are part and parcel of life. I was elected Student representative in the University Council and hence my journey of success began. Being a Finalist in NSW International Student of the Year Award 2013, winner in 2014 and invited Speaker at 2015 Awards further added feathers in my cap. President of the International Student Club and Secretary of the Islamic Club brought me closer to the students and the management and I tried to help the students in all the possible ways.
I have always heard that Australia is really a sustainable country but actually didn’t knew anything about Sustainability. I worked hard with my learning approach and as a result got 2nd prize in Student Category of Sustainability Photography contest, one of the facilitator for Sustainable Workshop and till date actively participate and engage with a number of organizations which works on sustainable issues.
I was the Student Mentor Coordinator at CSU for two consecutive years and a Mentor myself a year before. The team tried to help the first year students feel comfortable in the University. It’s very difficult to bring and retain the students in a regional university because there may be great chances that he/she is the first one going to University from his family.
It was time to explore the multicultural aspect of Wagga Wagga. Wagga’s first Multicultural morning tea was our first successful event which brought me really close to Wagga City Council. Then a series of activities started which included Dementia Awareness Day, Harmony Day celebration, Wagga Wagga Sustainability Networking group events, Fusion 13, 14, 15, Future Moves.
I love writing and hence started writing in The Wagga Way and Hungappa (student magazine) which was like stress busters for me. I had been invited a number of times as a Panelist which really brings me more closer to the regional I still can’t believe that I was one of the Finalist in Young Professional Awards 2014 organized by Wagga Business Chambers. I am not disheartened that I did not win the award because being is a Finalist is an award in itself. I am really privilege to live in such a region where we have great people and organizations who have always rendered their support to me whenever I needed them the most.
I am currently a Board Member at Multicultural Council of Wagga Wagga too.It’s been a great pleasure to live in most friendly city Wagga Wagga. The culture here is awesome & I feel that we are working in a very secured & cordial environment. I really thank God because I got this the Opportunity to work with extraordinary people who have given me lot of support, guidance & most important companionship and some have become my very good friends.
I am now nearly finishing my studies and real struggle of finding a suitable job will begin but still I won’t be blaming the system or the regional place for that. I know people do struggle in metro cities too. I really want to earn my recognition and job and not beg for it.
In my capacity as a CISA executive, I would love to work more and more and assist international students adjusting to the Australian system of education, support and encourage friendship between international and local students; make them aware about Australian culture and communication ethics; work on behalf of all students for an education that is accessible, equitable and free from discrimination; to promote cultural diversity, friendship, understanding and awareness amongst overseas students and Australians; to work and liaise with other organizations; to liaise and cooperate with appropriate bodies of the University and local community for the benefit of international students; to provide a forum for the dissemination, discussion and debate of information and knowledge about matters of student or public interest.